Monday, 19 September 2016

Angel's Blade Review Part 2: Formations and Detachments

Hello again! Time for part 2 of the review. This time I will run through the new (and not so new) formations from between the covers of Angel's Blade. Strap yourselves in, there's a lot to get through, so this will be a two-parter!


There are 12 formations in Angel's Blade, 9 of them new. As you've no doubt come to expect, these are categorised into Command, Core and Auxiliary formations for the larger detachments (more on that later). The bias seems to be slightly towards assault, which pleases me fluffwise, but it remains to be seen whether they work out well in games. There are also one or two formations that make use of the changes to the vehicles that Blood Angels can take. Here's the list:


Golden Host

This one has certainly piqued my interest and I will definitely be trying it. It consists of Dante or The Sanguinor plus between 2 and 5 squads of Sanguinary Guard. Firstly, you can choose which turn they arrive from turn 2 onwards with no rolling and you can re-roll the scatter for their Deep Strike arrival and they must arrive together. Secondly, and this could be a biggy, they can make a disordered charge after arriving. The latter is certainly going to make them a threat when combined with the former and there are actually benefits to taking The Sanguinor (at last) as well as Dante.

  • If you take Dante, you can put him in a squad with the banner and negate the lost charge attack bonus. You also can use his warlord trait to reduce that re-rollable scatter to just D6" which is rather nice. Plus Dante is just an excellent character in general. Precision pain train!
  • If you take The Sanguinor, you partly negate the disordered charge for the rest of the Sanguinary Guard squads in the formation, as long as you keep them fairly tight to him as he confers the +1 Attack regardless of the charge being disordered. Sadly, he still can't join squads, but he can at least help out his golden buddies.
More interestingly and possibly overlooked at first glance is the fact you can pick when your rip and tear units arrive. This, for me at least, could take them from "I hope they survive" to "Where do I need these bad asses?". I look forward to seeing if this is useful. 10/10 for cool though.

Leaders of the Angelic Host

Straightforward this one. One character, optional Command Squad, optional Stormraven. The character can be a Terminator Captain, Captain Tycho, a Librarian, Mephiston, a Sanguinary Priest or Brother Corbulo. A simple way to get HQs into your force and, as you will see, you can fit a good few in! Strangely, like every other formation, Captain Karlaen is not an option for this, despite being mentioned several times in the fluff of the book. It almost feels like they want to try and remove Karlaen as a playable character and have him as a generic Terminator Captain that you can call Karlaen. I will probably bring this point up at least 20 more times before the review is done! No special rules for this formation, it's a plain command slot filler.

Chapter Ancients

They didn't give BAs Dreadnought Squads (Squadrons?) but this formation makes up for that a bit. You can take 3 to 5 of any flavour of Dreadnought. This includes regular Dreadnoughts, Furioso and even Librarian flavoured coffin robots. Yeah, that's right, you can take 5 Librarian Dreadnoughts as a formation. Okay, so that's at least 750 points but who is going to know where to start with that? I won't be taking 5 Librarian Dreads. The special rule for this formation is situational but nice. Once per battle you can shoot or pile in and attack in the movement phase instead of moving. You then get to do your normal shooting or combat as well. Nice to add the chance of clearing up a combat or taking extra shots at that vehicle or whatever. Moreover these dreadnoughts are seperate and don't suffer from having to keep coherency or massed fire at the 'unit' so are a bit harder to kill off. Nice, but I'm not sure how useful this will be.


Battle Demi-Company

The same as the Blooded  Demi-Company from Shield of Baal: Exterminatus with the exception that you can take a Bike Squad, Attack Bike Squad or unit of Land Speeders instead of the Assault Squad. Gets exactly the same special rules as the BDC as well: re-roll the warlord trait and Red Thirst which gives +1 Initiative on the charge. This is strange because the detachment also bestows Red Thirst, and as much as I would like a double Initiative boost, this does not stack. You can't be double thirsty. Seems a tad lazy but there are other benefits to taking the detachment. We're getting to that. So this is the standard Captain or Chaplain, Command Squad (if you take the Captain), 3 Tactical Squads, Assault/Bikes/Attack Bikes/Land Speeders, Devastator Squad, Dreadnought and a Furioso Dreadnought (if you take the Chaplain). No changes here.

Archangels Demi-Company

The formation of the same name from Exterminatus but you can't use the Archangels Warlord Traits (you do get a re-roll on the Codex: Blood Angels traits though) and you get to roll for reserves FROM THE FIRST TURN. Useful in Maelstrom games when you want to snatch those first few objectives or if you want to null deploy with some drop pods. Maybe a bit risky but there is only a minute chance you will fluff the roll and the re-roll for every single unit. Alpha strike is go with this one. Cheap version is to take stock Sternguard with drop pods or Razorbacks. Not sure if you can start rolling for the second half of your drop pods from turn 1. Pretty sure you would still be turn 2 for those. Let me know what you think in the comments. Expensive version you take Terminators for face smashing goodness, sprinkled with Heavy Flamers, Assault Cannons or Cyclones for shooting fun. Stubborn also included for extra relentlessness, but not Relentless (har har).

Death Company Strike Force

This is both a Core choice and an Auxiliary, depending on the detachment, so I'm putting it here. This one I am excited to have a play with. The new Death Company Chaplain is joined by 3 Death Company Squads and 1-3 DC Dreads. Any DC squad or Dread with 12" of the Chaplain get's an extra attack. This is insanely good. Death Company are already good at the rip 'n' tear but this just makes them murderous. Take Bolt Pistols in your squads and you get 6 attacks per model on the charge. Even better, take Bolters and get to Rapid Fire then charge and get 5 attacks each. There are not many infantry units that won't be a pink mist after that kind of crazy rolling. The icing on that cake is that thanks to GW getting it together and giving BA Dreads the attacks they deserve, you could be looking at 9 S10 AP2 Shred attacks on the charge if you take Blood Talons (and you should). You can also take Stormravens as dedicated transports so you have a few options for delivering the black-armoured maniacs.

Right, that will do for tonight. I will cover the Auxiliaries and the Detachment in tomorrow's post.

Stay tuned!


  1. Sounding like great fluffy formations. That golden host will see some popularity both in the detachment and as a solo formation I reckon. Thumbs up to the Krak!

  2. I'm getting the DC box set which will let me run a full death company list (with my existing DC and astorath) on occasion .... Can't wait. 9 attacks on a DC dread .... Scary!

    1. Good stuff! I mean you used to be able to run a full DC army before, thanks to the units from Deathstorm, but now it's actively encouraged, and it's going to hurt! Haha.